President Barack Obama praised Hillary Clinton as “one of the finest secretary of states [sic] we’ve had” in a rare joint interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday.
“It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I’m going to miss her,” Obama told interviewer Steve Kroft.
Clinton acknowledged that “a few years ago [a joint interview] would have been seen as improbable because we had that very long, hard primary campaign,” but said that she now considers the president to be a “very warm, close” friend.
During the interview, Kroft brought up the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the recent contentious congressional hearings on the incident. “Do you feel guilty in any way, in– at a personal level? Do you blame yourself that you didn’t know or that you should have known?” he asked.
“Well, Steve, obviously, I deeply regret what happened, as I’ve said many times,” Clinton replied.
“But we also live in a dangerous world. And, you know, the people I’m proud to serve and work with in our diplomatic and development personnel ranks, they know it’s a dangerous and risky world,” she added. “We just have to do everything we can to try to make it as secure as possible for them.”
Later on, Kroft noted that Obama’s political opponents routinely charge that his administration has abdicated American leadership on the global stage, and hesitates to project American power across the world.
“Well, Muammar Qaddafi probably does not agree with that assessment, or at least if he was around, he wouldn’t agree with that assessment,” Obama responded.
One topic that the two would not discuss is the 2016 presidential election. When Kroft broached the subject, Obama immediately shut it down. “You guys in the press are incorrigible,” the president said with a smile. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you’re talking about elections four years from now.”
Watch the entire interview below, in two parts:
Copyright 2013 The National Memo